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Health policy and systems research and analysis in Nigeria: examining health policymakers’ and researchers’ capacity assets, needs and perspectives in south-east Nigeria

Citation: 
CITATION: Health policy and systems research and analysis in Nigeria: examining health policymakers’ and researchers’ capacity assets, needs and perspectives in south-east Nigeria. Benjamin Uzochukwu et al. Health Research Policy and Systems 2016; 14:13 DOI: 10.1186/s12961-016-0083-6 http://health-policy-systems.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12961-016-0083-6
Abstract / Summary: 
Background: Health policy and systems research and analysis (HPSR+A) has been noted as central to health systems strengthening, yet the capacity for HPSR+A is limited in low- and middle-income countries. Building the capacity of African institutions, rather than relying on training provided in northern countries, is a more sustainable way of building the field in the continent. Recognising that there is insufficient information on African capacity to produce and use HPSR+A to inform interventions in capacity development, the Consortium for Health Policy and Systems Analysis in Africa (2011-2015) conducted a study with the aaim to assess the capacity needs of its African partner institutions, including Nigeria, for HPSR+A. This paper provides new knowledge on health policy and systems research assets and needs of different stakeholders, and their perspectives on HPSR+A in Nigeria. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in the Enugu state, south-east Nigeria. It involved reviews and content analysis of relevant documents and interviews with organizations’ academic staff, policymakers and HPSR+A practitioners. The College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu campus (COMUNEC), was used as the case study and the HPSR+A capacity needs were assessed at the individual, unit and organizational levels. The HPSR+A capacity needs of the policy and research networks were also assessed. Results: For academicians, lack of awareness of the HPSR+A field and funding were identified as barriers to strengthening HPSR+A in Nigeria. Policymakers were not aware of the availability of research findings that could inform the policies they make nor where they could find them; they also appeared unwilling to go through the rigors of reading extensive research reports.  
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Selected extracts: 

"The policymakers in Nigeria do not have any idea of research in general and health policy research in particular so they don't value it" (Academia).

"Well the field of health policy and systems research is new here, even though there is need for much of the research, I don’t think that those who really need to request for it are even aware that it exists [..]." (Policymaker-bureaucrat)

"As for policy briefs and their level of uptake, my job here is to make policies. Those briefs are there but are not comprehensive because they do not come up with operational guidelines of how the policy will be implemented or monitored." (Policymaker).

"There's little or no demand for research outputs. Most research outputs end up in the shelves of various universities and institutions." (Academia).

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Author(s): 

 Benjamin Uzochukwu et al. 

Year published: 
2016
Month published: 
February